Trump continues on the warpath: Now US tariffs cover nearly everything arriving from China

Settle in because we are here for the long haul

After a short-lived cease fire, the glorious leader of the United States has announced yet another round of tariffs on Chinese imports, due to be imposed in September.

President Donald Trump said there would be a further 10 per cent levy on another $300bn worth of Chinese imports, in the fourth round of tariff increases by the US since June 2018.

The announcement has already caused a cascade of economic misery: the S&P 500 was down, European and Asian stocks were down, and US Treasury yields were down too, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China is expected to retaliate, kicking the ongoing conflict into overdrive as both sides essentially run out of things to tax.

The trade war started after the US announced a 25 per cent tariff on approximately $50bn of goods from China that "contain industrially significant technologies".

The rationale, according to the White House, was "China's theft of intellectual property and technology and its other unfair trade practices."

"These tariffs are essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs," the president said in a statement in June 2018 (despite describing the proposed tariffs as "fake news" just days later). "In addition, they will serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to the trade relationship between the United States and China."

That rationale, though, flew out of the window in September 2018, when the White House announced a broad 10 per cent tariff on $200bn worth of Chinese wares – from meat to monopods. Networking equipment, semiconductors and optical fibre equipment were all affected. In May 2019, the tariffs on affected products were increased, as threatened, to 25 per cent.

In June, the situation seemed to be improving. Trump met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the G20 Summit and agreed not to impose further tariffs. It wasn't to last.

On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter (of course) to accuse China of not following through on its promises of buying more agricultural products from the US and stopping the flow of fentanyl, a potent opioid.

"If they don't want to trade with us anymore, that would be fine with me," he later told reporters in a press conference on the White House lawn. "Until such time as there is a deal, we'll be taxing them."

Trump's trade war has already messed with global supply chains, and will undoubtedly do more damage in the months to come.


Prez Trump's trade war reshapes electronics supply chains as China production slows


"In addition to the actual cost of tariffs, we know some of the mitigation efforts by moving manufacturing from location to different locations has resulted in overall slight uptick in our cost of goods sold, really as part of the mitigation. So there is some costs associated with that as well," Rami Rahim, CEO of American networking equipment vendor Juniper Networks, said in an earnings call last week.

In its fresh-off-the-press analysis, the US intelligence corporation Stratfor warned: "Even a 10 per cent tariff, instead of the earlier threatened 25 per cent, will come back to bite American consumers and affect US companies such as Apple.

"Equity markets are predictably diving upon news of the additional tariffs. A prolonged trade war with China will further sour the investment climate, and Trump's trade wars are already sapping global economic growth."

Stratfor noted that one of the options open to the Chinese is a restriction on exports of rare earth materials that are critical to the US tech and defence industries. China is also working on its own "Entity List" – a blacklist where it wants to place companies it considers a threat to its interests.

Meanwhile, in typical "hold my beer" fashion, Japan has just announced its own trade sanctions against South Korea, removing the country from its list of trusted export destinations – which could cause delays for shipments of essential chip components. South Korean President Moon Jae-in promised to retaliate, saying: "We can beat Japan." ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021